To Combat Anti-Semitism, Start by Combating Anti-Semites

Examining recent initiatives to counter anti-Jewish prejudice from the United Nations, Germany, and the U.S. government, Yigal Carmon finds many ideas that could very well prove helpful. But, Carmon argues, all these proposals—despite their good intentions—suffer from the common flaw of paying insufficient attention to the most urgent, and probably most achievable, goal: deterring or silencing the anti-Semites themselves. Take, for instance, recent programs introduced by German authorities:

In . . . 2021, Germany’s government-funded Central Council of Jews launched a program called “Meet a Jew,” which was under the patronage of the German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier. A few years prior, in 2017, a Munich-based NGO launched a [similar] program called “Rent-A-Jew” in an attempt to counter anti-Semitism. One of the Jewish participants in the program said, “We want to give people the chance to talk to the Jewish community. We want them to see what we’re completely normal people.”

It is interesting to note that a similar approach was adopted in 1933 by the Zentralverein (Central Organization of Jews in Germany), which in an attempt to counter the threat posed by Nazism published a 1,060-page encyclopedia about the contributions made by Jews in various fields. [Such] methods are misguided and cause the opposite of the desired effect. Moreover, they evade the crucial task of confronting anti-Semites themselves, and focus on the less-demanding task of doing PR for the Jews.

Among the more effective approaches Carmon suggests is holding social-media platforms responsible for inciting violence, which, he argues, can be done within the framework of America’s First Amendment:

Section 230(c)(1) of the U.S. Communications Decency Act must be repealed. Section 230 gives immunity to social-media companies that is not enjoyed by any other media outlet, and this enables illegal activities, including incitement to violence, to reach millions of people and take place on social media with no government regulation.

It seems that those who make the free-speech argument [against such a move] do not know what kind of dangerous content is actually being propagated on social media, and they believe that the ideas exchanged on social-media platforms are only a matter of aggressive political debate. They do not know that the content in question is criminal and illegal, such as recruitment, fundraising, and the sharing of manuals on how to carry out attacks by Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and neo-Nazi organizations. . . . In the U.S., a district court ruled in 2006 that the First Amendment does not protect the right to disseminate information meant to result in violence.

Read more at MEMRI

More about: American Jewry, American law, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, German Jewry, Social media

What Is the Biden Administration Thinking?

In the aftermath of the rescue of four Israeli hostages on Friday, John Podhoretz observes some “clarifying moments.” The third strikes me as the most important:

Clarifying Moment #3 came with the news that the Biden administration is still calling for negotiations leading to a ceasefire after, by my count, the seventh rejection of the same by Hamas since Bibi Netanyahu’s secret offer a couple of weeks ago. Secretary of State Blinken, a man who cannot say no, including when someone suggests it would be smart for him to play high-school guitar while Ukraine burns, will be back in the region for the eighth time to urge Hamas to accept the deal. Why is this clarifying? Because it now suggests, here and for all time, that the Biden team is stupid.

Supposedly the carrot the [White House] is dangling in the region is a tripartite security deal with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Which would, of course, be a good thing. But like the stupid people they are now proving to be, they seem not to understand the very thing that led the Saudis to view Israel as a potential ally more than a decade ago: the idea that Israel means business and does what it must to survive and built itself a tech sector the Saudis want to learn from. Allowing Hamas to survive, which is implicitly part of the big American deal, will not lead to normalization. The Saudis do not want an Iranian vassal state in Palestine. Their entire foreign-policy purpose is to counter Iran. I know that. You know that. Everybody in the world knows that. Even Tony Blinken’s guitar is gently weeping at his dangling a carrot to Israel and Saudi Arabia that neither wants, needs, nor will accept.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Antony Blinken, Gaza War 2023, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship